Loving Those We Did Not Choose

We have some latitude in this life about the people we spend out time with. We get to choose our spouses and and our friends, and sometimes we have a choice of congregations, so that we might have some limited choices in the brethren we associate with. But the vast majority of people that God told us to love are not people who get to choose — yet God chose for us to love them. 

Love your neighbor — not many of these did we choose. Love your enemies — unless you set out to start a conflict with them, you didn’t choose these. Love your family — we didn’t choose them any more than they chose us. 

Think of Jesus’ most famous teaching about loving your neighbor: the story of the good Samaritan.  The man on the road to Jericho didn’t choose to be injured. The Levite and the priest then didn’t choose to help. The Samaritan didn’t get to choose who to show love to, he only got to decide to be loving or not.   

Luke 10:36,37Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.””

This is really the only choice for us. Do we love: even at the inconvenient, time-consuming, work delaying, planned relaxation time disrupting, expensive in time, effort and money, that opportunity often presents itself in as Jesus instructs? Or do we just continue on like the world?